This spring, I’m working as a part-time UX design intern at Pegasystem’s Digital Team.
Two months have passed since my start day. So I wanted to take some time to share what I did, learned, and what to improve.
This is my first time working as a UX design intern in the US, so some of the thoughts may be limited to my own experience.
Last month, I wrote another self-reflection. So if you’re interested, feel free to give it a read!
If you’re interested in my journey to Pega, check out this article.
The second month was a heads-down work grind.
On top of school and life, I tried to make as much progress as I could with the design system.
Quite a lot has happened, so let’s dive right in.
At Pega, I’m recreating Pega’s Bolt design system from scratch in Figma.
Last month, the only major work I did was on the buttons.
So, in the second month, I picked up the pace. And now, I’ll share what I did.
And a quick heads-up:
Sorry if what I’m about to share is confusing to people. I just want to accurately capture my current progress.
This was a nice addition as it gave me a good overview of what I completed.
And what I need to work on... (check out all the gray tags 😅).
In all honesty, there’s no way I can finish everything by the end of April.
As my mentor and manager said, my role is to set a good foundation. So once that’s completed, I’ll try to create as many components as I can.
This is a work in progress. But I’m quite satisfied with the current structure.
Right now, this is how I’m structuring my layers:
This is the same structure as the Bolt design system documentation site. The yellow highlights are the major categories:
Before, I played around with other types of layer organization. But, I landed on the current one after I saw IBM’s Carbon Design System file on Figma.
Here, all the main components are stored in the major category file. For example, in my 02 - Elements file, this is what I have:
With this organization system, in the assets library, the components will be arranged neatly by their category.
If you’re still reading, you may ask:
Wait Guo, then what do you include on each sub-category page (e.g. buttons, icons, cards, etc)?
Great question. For each page, my goal will be to
Thus, the rule of thumb is:
Create the main components in the category pages. And then use the instances in the sub-category pages.
Now, let’s break down my work in each category.
💡 After writing a few first drafts, I realized that breaking down each element will take too much time. Thus, I’ll share screenshots of what I did.
I didn’t want to bore you out with the details. So if you have any questions about how I created these, feel free to reach out!
The week before spring break, I gave a design system demo to the design team.
In the end, I think it went quite well. And the team was happy with what I’ve accomplished so far!
One new addition in the second month is the design + code workshop with my mentor.
And I love it.
Right now, we’re building my design portfolio from scratch. And I’m learning SO much (front-end best practices, page structure, using math, scss, etc).
Honestly, this is so much more practical than the web programming college course I took (oops).
It was great to hear what other designers are doing on the team. And both ended up as great conversations!
As mentioned before, I’m learning A LOT from the weekly design + code workshops.
Honestly, I should put more time outside of the workshop to practice front-end coding. And if possible, I can try to code my next design portfolio.
This made more sense after I learned how to create tokens in code.
In short, tokens can help you maintain a consistent style in your design system.
This stemmed from my conversation with Matthew, the Senior Brand Manager at Pega.
There were lots of insights packed into our 1-hour call. But here’s one that stuck with me:
As a designer, you will experience this one day: You spent so much time on a design, and it just ends up in the trash. How will you respond?
Matthew stresses that, in this case, you need to respond like a professional. For instance, you can say:
Thank you for your feedback. I will work on these.
Instead of saying:
YOU DON’T KNOW ANYTHING ABOUT DESIGN! MY DESIGNS ARE GREAT!
Aha of course!
Right now, I’m writing this sentence on 3/29 at 12:17 AM. And I’m supposed to post this article on 3/29.
Right now, there are a lot of things I’m juggling around. So I need to set my priorities and work on what’s important.
In the second month, I can confidently say that I spent a considerable amount of time building the design system. I’m proud of the work I’ve done for the team.
For the last month of the internship, I plan to create as many components as I can. And I want to spend more time reviewing the lessons I’ve learned from the design + code workshops.
Thank you for being awesome and reading this far! :)